N. P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: India’s neighborhood first policy-obviously a lopsided one- has miserably failed to the utter discomfiture of the South Asian regional bully that India is.
This artificial policy which was coined by the Regional hegemon after the advent of the most ever repulsive Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was bound to fail given India’s past and the current history of being ruthless-merciless-inhumane towards the issues and the problems of immediate neighbors since decades and decades.
A policy that is brought into existence with mal-intent and is aimed at cheating the neighbors is sure to take a tailspin.
This means that India for the first time in its chequered history of mere seven decades has found that it is all alone in the vast south Asian spread so much so that Bangladesh-a country which was created with India’s direct and visible assistance is trying to distance itself with Delhi set up.
And India is alone even after it acquired the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
This is really unfortunate for Indian establishment and its gang of four who mercilessly now rule the former British colony.
Bangladesh came into existence with the explicit bifurcation of Pakistan and of late appears to be practicing a policy which is independent of Indian dictates.
Naturally Bangladesh as a sovereign country reserves the exclusive right to chart out policies and enter into agreements with any country in the world which benefits the expansion of its trade and commerce so that its economy becomes a vibrant one.
Not for nothing then is being said in the recent days and months that Bangladesh is emerging as an economic tiger in the South Asian region.
Dhaka has, to add insult to injury, demanded from the Chinese regime a grand 97% waiver on 5, 161 items that Dhaka had generally been trading with China over these years.
The Dhaka demand from China fortunately has come a day after, June 16/2020, the Ladhakh clash which say more than fifty Indian soldier dead and several missing.
The Chinese establishment has already assured Bangladesh that Dhaka’s requests shall be honored verbatim beginning first of July this year itself.
Media agencies have reported that currently 3095 Bangladeshi products enjoy duty-free access to Chinese market under Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA).
With the new announcement from China, 97 per cent of Bangladeshi products will join this zero-tariff club from July 1st. that raised the numbers of Bangladeshi products with zero duty access to Chinese market to 8,256, media reports have said.
The Chinese took this decision one month after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Chinese President Xi Jinping held a discussion to upgrade their bilateral relations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dhaka as per the available news reports shall enjoy these concessions from China for being a “less developed country”.
Mohua Chaterjee sees this bilateral conduct in between Beijing and Dhaka as a “bad omen for India”.
But why it is bad for India, Chatterjee remains tight lipped except he says that Dhaka is an ally of India.
You can’t squeeze your ally? It is unacceptable, is the general opinion of the Bangladeshis.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Julfikar Ali Bhutto had rightly said immediately after emergence of Bangladesh, “India will have yet another Pakistan in the neighborhood”.
This is what has been described by J.N.Dixit- a former Indian diplomat in his book “My South Block Years” quoting Bhutto.
A statement made decades and decades back by a Pakistan Prime Minister has come to true? What a farsighted political man Bhutto was.
Here lay the meaning underneath. Read between the lines as to what India expects from its presumed ally like Bangladesh?
Chaterjee writes for the Times of India, June 20 wherein he claims that Beijing now woos Dhaka. It is simply rubbish.
As is considered a normal practice in the conduct between nations, Dhaka is free to have such similar agreements with other countries wherein Dhaka sees commercials benefits.
If it is Beijing today then tomorrow for Dhaka could be some other countries to initiate trade and commercials relations that suits the emerging South Asian tiger- Bangladesh.
Instead of blaming that Dhaka is slowly inching towards Beijing, New Delhi must assess as to why Dhaka has begun to prefer keeping a comfortable distance from New Delhi? Why is this Dhaka hatred against Delhi?
Delhi must begin soul searching with Dhaka’s fresh choice to begin deep commercials contacts/relations with Beijing.
India’s tensed relations with its immediate neighbors shall, as a matter of fact, be cashed in by the Beijing regime. This is for sure.
Logical is the saying that Delhi’s loss is Beijing’s gain.
This is simply but diplomacy and both Dhaka and Beijing have played it well.
Similarly, Nepal’s ties with expansionist India took a new low on May 8/2020 when the Indian defense minister Raj Nath Singh inaugurated a link road to Tibet which passed through the Nepali landmass.
The May 15 canard made against Nepal and China by the incompetent and ill-informed Indian Army Chief M. M. Naravne too contributed to the early and the urgent need for the publication of the new map.
He spoke what Modi’s told him to speak. That’s it.
It was this unilateral decision taken by India that prompted sovereign and independent Nepal to publish a new administrative map which included the India occupied territories.
And by this time now, the Nepali new map has acquired the needed constitutional legality (with the Presidential nod to the new map bill) which has further angered the Indian regime that has all along been ignoring the Nepali requests (Note verbal) for foreign secretary level talks for the resolution of the boundary claims made by the Nepali side.
India now says that it is fruitless to initiate dialogues with Nepal simply because Nepal has made constitutional amendments and already incorporated the lands which India considers as “disputed land”.
Ambassador Rakesh Sood while on the one hand claims that talks and constitutional amendments can’t go together. He however, says that India must not have ignored Nepal’s repeated requests for having bilateral talks to settle the dispute if any.
Sood says that Nepal was taking contradictory steps.
Ambassador Sood made these observations while talking to India’s analyst Happymon Jacob which was also participated in by Kanak Mani Dixit, a Nepali journalist.
Talking to Happymon Jacob, the Nepali journalist K. M Dixit told the Indian audience that the defense minister Raj Nath Singh’s inauguration of the link road to Tibet on May 8 in essence triggered the present day conflict with India.
“It was a unilateral action taken by India with big fanfare which is what has triggered the Nepali side to take appropriate steps as regards the publication of the official map”, says Dixit adding that
if Minister Singh’s inaugural of the link road was an “action” then the publication of the map and providing it with the constitutional legality was Nepal’s “reaction”.
According to Dixit, some seventeen Kilometres of this link road inaugurated by the Indian Minister Singh belongs to Nepal. Grand revelation indeed.
The worst ever Indian Ambassador posted in Nepal a decade back Rakesh Sood nevertheless reiterated that the Indian Army Chief’s blaming Nepal as to have been raising the Kalapani issue at the behest of China was just an “uncalled for” statement.
Sood says that being the honorary general of the Nepal Army, MM Naravne should have not made such a provocative statement.
However, in the recent days, the Indian Army chief Naravne appears to have taken steps to repair the damage that already has been done.
“With Nepal, India has excellent relations”, said Naravne very freshly.
The general distorted impression in India has been that Nepal is siding with China in the current standoff with China.
The frustrated Indians now believe that India has now to fight in three fronts at a time. If Pakistan is the first declared front wherein India has been fighting an endless war with that country and the second being the war with China at the Galwan valley.
The third front wherein India is fighting, what they believe, is with Nepal over Kalapani, Limpiya dhura and Lipulek.
India’s defeated mentality for all whimsical reasons now has begun to trust that apart from the three fronts as mentioned in the paragraphs above has to fight with Bangladesh also concluding that the current concessions provided by the Chinese establishment to the Bangladeshi government equals to the fourth front that India is supposed to fight with.
This self-defeating Indian postulation is based on the hypothesis that with the concessions that Dhaka shall enjoy from Beijing will tantamount to the forth front that India will have to fight with.
This perhaps speaks of the diplomatic bankruptcy of the Indian establishment.
If tomorrow Sri Lanka and the Maldives begin enjoying similar trade tariff concessions from China as has been assured to Dhaka, should then India estimate that two more additional war fronts have been added with which India will have to confront?
Indians have gone senile after the Galwan valley defeat.
Reports say that China has entered deep into Indian Territory and have captured about thirty square kilometers of the Indian landmass.
PM Modi out of fear says that “No Indian Post is under Chinese Occupation”.
Modi must understand that China is not Nepal though Nepal too has some political reservations with China.
But the fact is also that since India has no relaxed and affable relations with its smaller neighbors in the South Asian region which has now allowed India’s neighbors to seek solace from other countries, for example, China which is just close to the South Asian region and per chance also an Observer in the SAARC regional body.
For the record, the erstwhile King Gyanendra had lobbied for China’s observer status and he is paying the price.
Accepting the grand defeat at the Galwan valley, India’s ever exasperated academician Brahma Chellaney expresses his defeated outbursts saying, “Nehru kept obscuring China’s encroachment until he was caught in a trap that led to the 1962 humiliation. Now, despite the availability of satellite imagery in the digital era, Narendra Modi is likewise seeking to cloak the Chinese incursions”.
Interestingly, Chellaney takes India as the most advanced country in the world to which it is hundred percent not.
Yet another defeated personality is General Bakshi who takes sadistic pleasure in insulting Nepal. He however forgets that Nepali population take him as Modi’s lapdog.
Media reports have it that after the border clash in the Galwan Valley around June 16/2020, a sort of hawkish nationalism and hostility against China within India rose sharply, while the Chinese analysts and some reasonable voices inside India warned that New Delhi should cool down the nationalism at home.
Yang Sheng and Liu Xuanzun for the Global Times dated June 21/2020 opine that “India will be more humiliated than after the 1962 border conflict with China if it cannot control anti-China sentiment(s) at home.
A Chinese senior analyst, Hu Zhiyong from the Sanghai Academy of Social Science says that India may at some point of time have to fight a border war at three fronts, for example, the war would be with China, Pakistan and Nepal.
Some independent analysts in Nepal opine that China by default has earned the sympathy from India’s neighbors simply because Indian behavior against the smaller neighbors have always remained unequal and tensed because of the elephantine size of the former colony of the British India Company-the present day Indian republic born 1947.
It is here again what could be said that India’s self-manufactured loss has been the net gain of the Chinese regime.
And some Chinese analysts too assert that India’s rough ties with its neighbors have benefitted China immensely.
A Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times the other day that Indian Prime Minister Modi’s assertion that Indian forces can take all necessary steps is a show of strength for domestic audiences/consumption to appease the Indian masses and boost the Indian troops’ morale.
Modi is playing with words in order to avoid an escalation as he does not want to really unleash his army by encouraging them to actively start another clash. China’s capability not only in terms of the military, but also overall and international influence, is superior to India’s, Wei Dongxu added.
India now counts on Russia as its defense minister Raj Nath Singh has landed in Moscow to seek favors. But will Russia afford to tease China at this moment and that too for India which has a direct tilt towards the USA?
Anil Sigdel, PhD, the director at Nepal Matters for America in Washington DC says in his fresh article titled “India’s Violation of Nepalese Sovereignty Is a Gift to China writes that “as a small neighbor mostly surrounded by India, and with Tibetan region in the north, has been living under Indian heavy-handedness for a long time.
Right now, however, there are strong voices in the country, adds Dr. Sigdel, “calling for the government to confront India head on. The nationalist commentators are in the mood of either kill or cure”.
Similarly, the Swedish Professor Ashok Swain writes that India does not focus on fixing the problem, but instead its sole focus has been on the blame! Need to ask-why China is being successful and why India has failed? That’s all.